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Match Reports

REPORT | WEST BROM 2 V 0 ROTHERHAM

10 April 2024

Match Reports

REPORT | WEST BROM 2 V 0 ROTHERHAM

10 April 2024

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Millers suffer more away day misery.....

Rotherham United’s troubles on the Sky Bet Championship road continued at The Hawthorns as a controversial goal on the stroke of half-time put paid to any chances of securing a positive result against play-off bound West Bromwich Albion.

The Millers – who will be playing in England’s third tier next season - were heading into the interval a goal down due to Brandon Thomas-Asante’s opener before Lee Peltier was bizarrely penalised for handball, despite the ball striking his head outside the box, and former loanee John Swift rubbed salt into Millers wounds by doubling the Baggies half-time lead.   

The home side never looked like relinquishing their grip on the game in a low-key second half despite Rotherham’s efforts, and Carlos Corberan’s side ran out comfortable victors in the end.  

Following their narrow home defeat at the hands of Plymouth Argyle last time out, Millers Head Coach Leam Richardson made one solitary change to his starting line-up for the trip to the West Midlands.

Portuguese midfielder Cafu was recalled at the expense of Charlie Wyke, who had to settle for a place on the bench.

The Baggies commanded the majority of the early possession and territory and they had the first opportunity when Darnell Furlong threaded a ball into the channel and Tom Fellows expertly picked out Swift, who looked set to threaten the Millers goal, but he blazed his shot over the bar, when he really should have done better.

Both teams traded half chances when Thomas-Asante came close to meeting Furlong’s cross but it narrowly evaded his attentions before Rotherham had their first sniff of goal when Sam Nombe dug out a ball to Sam Clucas, who could only scoop an effort which failed to trouble the home goal.

There was a moment of concern for the Millers when Cohen Bramall was penalised for hauling over Fellows in full flow, and Swift planted the resultant free-kick into the danger area but home skipper Kyle Bartley could only head over.

The Millers had their best spell of the half when some fine interplay involving Ollie Rathbone and Seb Revan firstly and then, Bramall and Clucas, in turn, forced a corner.

Cafu planted a dangerous inswinging set-piece which Alex Palmer was forced to parry away before Bramall had a low shot blocked. In the next phase of play, Hakeem Odoffin was crowded out by Furlong at the far post.

The home side managed to weather the brief Millers rally but normal service was resumed when Swift’s opportunism saw Thomas-Asante break the Rotherham defensive line despite looking decidedly offside but he could only drag his low effort wide.

The Millers failed to heed the warning though as the Baggies opened the scoring on 23 minutes.

Mikey Johnston placed a ball down the left-flank which saw Adam Reach get on the wrong side of his marker, and the home winger darted into the box before taking his time to expertly pick out the advancing run of Thomas-Asante – while taking Johansson out of the game – and the home striker had the simple task of tapping home into the unguarded net from close range.

The Millers had a few glimpses of goal when Nombe headed wide from Odoffin’s cross before Cafu volleyed over, either side of Johansson’s save from Fellows’ low drive.

Nevertheless, the game took a cruel and decisive twist for the Millers on the stroke of half time when the home side doubled their lead in controversial circumstances.

There looked little danger for the visitors until Thomas-Asante cut inside with menace before trying his luck with an opportunistic effort. Peltier bravely put his body on the line, in an attempt to charge down his rising shot, and the ball appeared to strike his head, albeit with his hands in the air – just outside the box - but the referee – to everyone’s amazement - bizarrely pointed to the spot.

The referee waved away vehement Rotherham protests and Swift stepped up confidently to stroke home the resultant penalty by firing into the heart of the Millers goal.     

Rotherham frustration boiled over when Richardson’s No 2, Rob Kelly was cautioned for his over-zealous protests from the visitors’ dugout.

Half-time: West Bromwich Albion 2 Rotherham United 0  

The Millers – despite their numerical disadvantage – had glimpses of goal when Rathbone pounced on a loose ball to drill a low shot which was deflected narrowly wide before Revan fired straight into the grateful hands of Palmer.

The home side were arguably playing within themselves but they upped the tempo when Johnston’s eye-of-a-needle pass bisected the Rotherham rearguard and Thomas-Asante raced through on goal, but Johansson won the battle of wills in the one-on-one situation to deny him at close quarters with a superb save.  

Cafu failed to make the most of a rare Rotherham opening when he was unable to get the ball under his spell in the box before Johansson needed lengthy treatment before being passed fit to continue.

The home side came within a whisker of a third goal when firstly subs Nathaniel Chalobah and Matt Phillips combined smartly, but Thomas-Asante was inches away from meeting the latter’s cross for a tap in from close range.

Thomas-Asante – in his last involvement - then fluffed his lines by blasting over from point-blank range after Rotherham failed to clear a long throw decisively.

The game ended on a positive note for those of a Millers persuasion when Academy youngster Ben Hatton was handed his first competitive action in Rotherham colours, by coming off the bench near the end. 

Full-time: West Bromwich Albion 2 Rotherham United 0

West Bromwich Albion 2

Rotherham United 0

Teams: West Brom- Palmer, Furlong, Bartley, Kipre (Ajayi 64), Reach, Yokuslu (Chalobah 64) M’Vila, Fellows (Phillips 75), Swift, Johnston (Diangana 64), Thomas-Asante (Maja 83). Unused- Griffiths, Townsend, Mowatt, Weimann.

Rotherham- Johansson, Peltier (Ferguson 79), Rathbone, Bramall (Seriki 79), Humphreys, Clucas (Appiah 79), Rinomhota (Hatton 90+1), Revan, Cafu, Nombe (Eaves 83), Odoffin. Unused- Phillips, Wyke. 

Referee- G Eltringham.

Attendance- 22331 (179)

 

 


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